What to Expect Before a Colonoscopy
A colonoscopy is a diagnostic and preventative procedure doctors use to check for issues in the large intestine. While this is an incredibly common procedure, with it being recommended routinely for anyone over 45 years of age, it can nevertheless be daunting. At San Jose Gastroenterology, we want you to feel prepared and confident going into your colonoscopy, so we are sharing exactly what you can expect before and during your procedure.
How Do You Prepare for a Colonoscopy?
Before a colonoscopy is ever recommended, we will perform a thorough exam and ask about your medical history, current medical conditions—such as allergies, diabetes, or heart, lung, or kidney conditions—and whether or not you are taking any medications. Knowing this will help us tailor your procedure and recovery to your specific needs. Once it is determined that a colonoscopy would be the best course of action, there are a few things that you will need to do to prepare.
Preparing for your colonoscopy may include:
- Restricting your diet for at least 24 hours: We understand that not having access to solid foods for an extended period can be uncomfortable, but in order to ensure a successful procedure, the colon must be free of solid food waste. Liquids such as broth, water, and sports drinks are typically allowed during this fasting period.
- Clearing your bowels: Either the night before, or the morning of, the procedure, it is important to evacuate your bowls. Ensuring that solid waste is removed will help your doctor more accurately identify any issues with your colon, leading to a more effective procedure. We will either prescribe a laxative or enema to help with this.
- Arrange transportation: While colonoscopies are a fairly quick procedure, often only lasting about 30 minutes, you will be sedated for it, so operating a motor vehicle or taking public transportation is not recommended.
What to Expect During Your Colonoscopy?
At San Jose Gastroenterology, we strive to make your procedure as comfortable as possible. You will be sedated before the procedure begins, so you are completely asleep. Next, our doctor will use a colonoscope, which has a light, video camera, and air tube at the tip, to check the lining of your colon for any abnormalities. During this time, it might be necessary to take a small biopsy or remove any polyps, which we can do using the colonoscope as well. Thanks to continuous innovation, we are able to do a lot with the colonoscope, despite it being only about half an inch in width.
Once the procedure is complete, we will allow you ample time to wake up from sedation in a comfortable recovery room. Then, your doctor will walk you through your recovery instructions, and answer any of your questions before releasing you. While gas and light cramping are normal post-procedure, it is important to reach out to us if you are experiencing any other side effects. Our team at San Jose Gastroenterology has years of experience helping patients through their colonoscopies. Learn more about our colonoscopy procedure here.
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